Homeowners Insurance: Protecting Your Home

In addition to providing shelter and comfort, our home is often our single greatest asset. And it’s important that we protect that precious investment. Most homeowners realize the importance of homeowners insurance in safeguarding the value of a home. However, what they may not know is that about two-thirds of all homeowners are under-insured. According to a national survey, the average homeowner has enough insurance to rebuild only about 80% of his or her house.

What a standard homeowners policy covers

A standard homeowner’s insurance policy typically covers your home, your belongings, injury or property damage to others, and living expenses if you are unable to live in your home temporarily because of an insured disaster.

The policy likely pays to repair or rebuild your home if it is damaged or destroyed by disasters, such as fire or lighting. Your belongings, such as furniture and clothing, are also insured against these types of disasters, as well as theft. Some risks, such as flooding or acts of war, are routinely excluded from homeowner policies.

Other coverage in a standard homeowner’s policy typically includes the legal costs for injury or property damage that you or family members, including your pets, cause to other people. For example, if someone is injured on your property and decides to sue, the insurance would cover the cost of defending you in court and any damages you may have to pay. Policies also provide medical coverage in the event someone other than your family is injured in your home.

If your home is seriously damaged and needs to be rebuilt, a standard policy will usually cover hotel bills, restaurant meals and other living expenses incurred while you are temporarily relocated.

How much insurance do you need?

Homeowners should review their policy each year to make sure they have sufficient coverage for their home. The three questions to ask yourself are:

  • Do I have enough insurance to protect my assets?
  • Do I have enough insurance to rebuild my home?
  • Do I have enough insurance to replace all my possessions?

Here’s some more information that will help you determine how much insurance is enough to meet your needs and ensure that your home will be sufficiently protected.

Protect your assets

Make sure you have enough liability insurance to protect your assets in case of a lawsuit due to injury or property damage. Most homeowner’s insurance policies provide a minimum of $100,000 worth of liability coverage. With the increasingly higher costs of litigation and monetary compensation, many homeowners now purchase $300,000 or more in liability protection. If that sounds like a lot, consider that the average dog bite claim is about $20,000. Talk with your insurance agent about the best coverage for your situation.

Rebuild your home

You need enough insurance to finance the cost of rebuilding your home at current construction costs, which vary by area. Don’t confuse the amount of coverage you need with the market value of your home. You’re not insuring the land your home is built on, which makes up a significant portion of the overall value of your property. In pricey markets such as San Francisco, land costs account for over 75 percent of a home’s value.

The average policy is designed to cover the cost of rebuilding your home using today’s standard building materials and techniques. If you have an unusual, historical or custom-built home, you may want to contact a specialty insurer to ensure that you have sufficient coverage to replicate any special architectural elements. Those with older homes should consider additions to the policy that pay the cost of rebuilding their home to meet new building codes.

Finally, if you’ve done any recent remodeling, make sure your insurance reflects the increased value of your home.

Remember that a standard policy does not pay for damage caused by a flood or earthquake. Special coverage is needed to protect against these incidents. Your insurance company can let you know if your area is flood or earthquake prone. The cost of coverage depends on your home’s location and corresponding risk.

Replacing your valuables

If something happens to your home, chances are the things inside will be damaged or destroyed as well. Your coverage depends on the type of policy you have. A cost value policy pays the cost to replace your belongings minus depreciation. A replacement cost policy reimburses you for the cost to replace the item.

There are limits on the losses that can be claimed for expensive items, such as artwork, jewelry, and collectables. You can get additional coverage for these types of items by purchasing supplemental premiums.

To determine if you have enough insurance, you need to have a good handle on the value of your personal items. Create a detailed home inventory file that keeps track of the items in your home and the cost to replace them.

Create a home inventory file

It takes time to inventory your possessions, but it’s time well spent. The little bit of extra preparation can also keep your mind at ease.  The best method for creating a home inventory list is to go through each room of your home and individually record the items of significant value. Simple inventory lists are available online. You can also sweep through each room with a video or digital camera and document each of your belongings. Your home inventory file should include the following items:

  • Item description and quantity
  • Manufacturer or brand name
  • Serial number or model number
  • Where the item was purchased
  • Receipt or other proof of purchase \Photocopies of any appraisals, along with the name and address of the appraiser
  • Date of purchase (or age)
  • Current value
  • Replacement cost

Pay special attention to highly valuable items such as electronics, artwork, jewelry, and collectibles.

Storing your home inventory list

Make sure your inventory list and images will be safe incase your home is damaged or destroyed. Store them in a safe deposit box, at the home of a friend or relative, or on an online Web storage site. Some insurance companies provide online storage for digital files. (Storing them on your home computer does you no good if your computer is stolen or damaged). Once you have an inventory file set up, be sure to update it as you make new purchases.

We invest a lot in our homes, so it’s important we take the necessary measures to safeguard it against financial and emotional loss in the wake of a disaster.

The post Homeowners Insurance: Protecting Your Home appeared first on Fort Collins Real Estate | Fort Collins Homes for Sale & Property Search.

A Home Addition: What to Consider Before Starting to Build

Adding on to your current home may be your best bet if you’re short on space, but you don’t want to move or can’t find another house in the area with all the qualities you’re seeking. It’s also an attractive option if the house you have is lacking just one significant element (a family room, another bedroom, a larger kitchen, a separate apartment, etc.).

On the other hand, even a modest addition can turn into a major construction project, with architects and contractors to manage, construction workers traipsing through your home, hammers pounding, and sawdust everywhere. And although new additions can be a very good investment, the cost per-square-foot is typically more than building a new home, and much more than buying a larger existing home.

Define your needs

To determine if an addition makes sense for your particular situation, start by defining exactly what it is you want and need. By focusing on core needs, you won’t get carried away with a wish list that can push the project out of reach financially.

If it’s a matter of needing more space, be specific. For example, instead of just jotting down “more kitchen space,” figure out just how much more space is going to make the difference, e.g., “150 square feet of floor space and six additional feet of counter space.”

If the addition will be for aging parents, consult with their doctors or an age-in-place expert to define exactly what they’ll require for living conditions, both now and over the next five to ten years.

Types of additions

Bump-out addition—“Bumping out” one of more walls to make a first floor room slightly larger is something most homeowners think about at one time or another. However, when you consider the work required, and the limited amount of space created, it often figures to be one of your most expensive approaches.

First floor addition—Adding a whole new room (or rooms) to the first floor of your home is one of the most common ways to add a family room, apartment or sunroom. But this approach can also take away yard space.

Dormer addition—For homes with steep rooflines, adding an upper floor dormer may be all that’s needed to transform an awkward space with limited headroom. The cost is affordable and, when done well, a dormer can also improve the curb-appeal of your house.

Second-story addition—For homes without an upper floor, adding a second story can double the size of the house without reducing surrounding yard space.

Garage addition—Building above the garage is ideal for a space that requires more privacy, such as a rentable apartment, a teen’s bedroom, guest bedroom, guest quarters, or a family bonus room.

Permits required

You’ll need a building permit to construct an addition—which will require professional blueprints. Your local building department will not only want to make sure that the addition adheres to the latest building codes, but also ensure it isn’t too tall for the neighborhood or positioned too close to the property line. Some building departments will also want to ask your neighbors for their input before giving you the go-ahead.

Requirements for a legal apartment

While the idea of having a renter that provides an additional stream of revenue may be enticing, the realities of building and renting a legal add-on apartment can be sobering. Among the things you’ll need to consider:

  • Special permitting—Some communities don’t like the idea of “mother-in-law” units and therefore have regulations against it, or zone-approval requirements.
  • Separate utilities—In many cities, you can’t charge a tenant for heat, electricity, and water unless utilities are separated from the rest of the house (and separately controlled by the tenant).
  • ADU Requirements—When building an “accessory dwelling unit” (the formal name for a second dwelling located on a property where a primary residence already exists), building codes often contain special requirements regarding emergency exists, windows, ceiling height, off-street parking spaces, the location of main entrances, the number of bedrooms, and more.

In addition, renters have special rights while landlords have added responsibilities. You’ll need to learn those rights and responsibilities and be prepared to adhere to them.

Average costs

The cost to construct an addition depends on a wide variety of factors, such as the quality of materials used, the laborers doing the work, the type of addition and its size, the age of your house and its current condition. For ballpark purposes, however, you can figure on spending about $200 per square food if your home is located in a more expensive real estate area, or about $100 per food in a lower-priced market.

You might be wondering how much of that money might the project return if you were to sell the home a couple years later? The answer to that question depends on the aforementioned details; but the average “recoup” rate for a family-room addition is typically more than 80 percent.

The bottom line

While you should certainly research the existing-home marketplace before hiring an architect to map out the plans, building an addition onto your current home can be a great way to expand your living quarters, customize your home, and remain in the same neighborhood.

The post A Home Addition: What to Consider Before Starting to Build appeared first on Fort Collins Real Estate | Fort Collins Homes for Sale & Property Search.

Gardening Trends For 2018

Outdoor living during the spring and summer months is extremely popular. Months of cold, wet winters are followed by glorious spring colors and warm summer days of vivid blue skies. In this post, we thought that now would be the best time to share some pretty garden trends for 2018.


Leisure time should be just that: relaxing and rejuvenating. So why labor relentlessly to create and maintain a perfect landscape? Wabi-sabi, is the Japanese art of accepting transience and imperfect beauty. Relax and appreciate nature as it is, with humble imperfections, weeds and all. Recognize (and tell others) that dandelions and clover in untreated lawns are not blights. They are status symbols for ecological horticulture. Consider natural grasses and groundcovers as low-maintenance substitutes for sod. Opt for perennials instead of annuals, let flowers go to seed and give nature license to evolve on her own.

Reclaiming Small Outside Spaces

For many of us these days, space is at a premium and with house prices continually on the rise, more and more people are living in apartment blocks or tiny lots. Garden designers are determined to make even the smallest of spaces useful and attractive, and manufacturers have taken notice. Look for a better choice in planters that slot onto balcony rails. New models will have coverings for protecting plants from cold temperatures so that you can even grow seeds and vegetables on your balcony alongside your flowers.

Self-watering wall planter systems have been improved for 2018 and the hanging macramé plant holder is having a bit of a revival. Add a small patio heater and you have an outside space you can enjoy all year round with minimal effort.

Purple Passion

Pantone’s Ultra Violet is the color of the year. Maybe that’s why you find purple flowers in this year’s plant varieties and garden design. It’s easy to incorporate this color in the garden as there are many flowers and shrubs with this beautiful color. However, there are also several edible purple plants that you can grow. Purple vegetables are not only interesting and pretty, their unique color denote anthocyanins which are very beneficial to your health.


This is a style that keeps popping up time and again. However, 2018 has taken the re-wilding trend up another notch. It is still all about working with nature, growing wildflowers and supporting our pollinating insects. Re-wilding means adjusting plant selections to better support local wildlife and growing both seed-producing and berry-bearing plants. However, now it is also about using ‘green’ gardening products, natural solutions to bug and slug killers instead of chemicals and insecticides and using peat-free products.

Alfresco Living

Outdoor entertaining and kitchen areas are tipped to be a key trend for Spring/Summer 2018. We are not talking about a little nook corner just off the kitchen. Alfresco dining spaces are being pushed out into the garden itself and made into a major feature. These dedicated outdoor dining areas are surrounded by in-ground and container plants for that lush feeling. Special flooring, comfy furniture and mood lighting turn it into a little haven. Complete the trend with a sunken fire pit, barbecue or pizza oven and you might never want to leave.

Lighting The Way

Adding lighting to your garden is not a new thing. However, in this age of renewable energy, garden lighting companies are turning away from the more traditional lighting solutions we have seen in the past. The advances in solar energy capture, means that we can light up our gardens in a variety of fun, affordable and better ways. No more changing batteries or wiring up the garden with electricity.

The wide range of lighting methods allows you to create whatever ambience you want. Simple stand-alone lights can mark pathways, either discreetly embedded into the path edges or standing loud and proud along the side. Multi-colored fairy lights can be tangled among the overhead branches of a tree creating dazzling shapes and textures. Solar Mason jars can be hung from above or used as table lighting. Festoon lights can create an ambient glow around any outdoor space creating romantic nooks.

The post Gardening Trends For 2018 appeared first on Fort Collins Real Estate | Fort Collins Homes for Sale & Property Search.

Home Decorating Trends Expected To Last Through 2018


Home décor and design trends are an ever-changing landscape by nature. Consumers grow weary of seeing the same colors and styles, and who doesn’t love to freshen up their home with a few new throw pillows? Some trends can be fleeting and you might feel resistant to jumping into them if you’re afraid that this year’s color of the year is next year’s Harvest Gold.

According to Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute, there are several trends in home decorating right now that are so popular, she doesn’t see them going away any time soon.

Geometric Patterns

Geometrics are seemingly everywhere right now; from backsplash tile, throw pillows, and bedding to wallpaper – the biggest commitment of them all.


The popularity of this trend is not exactly new and it doesn’t appear to be losing any steam. Whimsical pillows and framed art with sweet messages seem to be the new text message of the home, inviting guests and proclaiming love for our friends, families and home town. In a world where Instagram and Pinterest appear to have taken over our lives – it’s no wonder we are so fond of these visual and tactile messages of inspiration, love, and comedy.

Wood treatments

The presence of technology, especially a year from now, will have us craving natural elements like wood more than ever. Expect to see wood in unexpected places like ceilings and as accent walls. But this won’t be your Grandparent’s wood-paneled basement from the 50’s. Think one accent wall of rustic, reclaimed wood with natural aging, or elegant box-beamed ceilings.


Already very popular in fashion, fringe edging in small doses adds texture, softness and evokes a home-spun feeling that is endearing and blends well with other trends right now, like wooden accent bowls and handmade ceramics. Expect to see it used in more areas like blankets and curtains, as well.


Metallic accent furniture continues to become so popular, it has been referred to being “the new neutral”. Along with larger pieces like coffee tables and dining room tables, iridescent fabrics and wall art are also becoming more readily available to add a little sparkle to a room. Don’t think that this means you’ll need gold-plated columns erected into your home. Vintage finds from thrift shops and DIY projects like painting old furniture are also a fun way to bring this trend home.

Intense colors

Anyone who is active on Pinterest knows that dark wall colors in vivid tones are wildly popular right now. In stark contrast to the bright and lively Greenery, chosen as color of the year by Pantone, the Benjamin Moore Paint Company chose their color of the year to be Shadow 2117-30. They describe it as “Allusive and enigmatic — a master of ambiance.”

Clearly a bold statement like this isn’t for everyone but an accent wall in a room that is not too small or dark already could be an amazing feature. Paired with metallic and lots of white furnishings and the effect is dramatic and glamorous.

This blog originally appeared on Windermere Spaces and Places.

The post Home Decorating Trends Expected To Last Through 2018 appeared first on Fort Collins Real Estate | Fort Collins Homes for Sale & Property Search.

February Home Maintenance Checklist


It’s February – winter’s not over yet, but spring is right around the corner. If you have cabin fever from being inside, cleaning and freshening up your house can help you get through this last month of winter and be ready to get outside when spring arrives.

Once you check these items off your to-do list, you’ll be able to relax by the fire with a good book and enjoy the last few weeks of winter.

  • Mop entryway floors. Clean your floors regularly to prevent damage from road salt and melting snow. Place a basket of old towels near the door to wipe up water and salt as soon as it is tracked inside.
  • Rotate or flip your mattress. Extend the life and comfort of your mattress by flipping or rotating it. At the same time, vacuum box springs and the mattress to eliminate allergy-causing dust- mites.
  • Organize your laundry room. Scrape dried-on laundry detergent from the ridges in your washer. Throw away laundry products you never use and replace damaged sorting bins.
  • Clean out your spice cabinet. Throw away expired spices and other seasonings, which may not only lose their taste, but could harbor mold and bacteria.
  • Sanitize hand-held devices. Prevent germs that cause the spread of colds and the flu by disinfecting your phone, remote controls, tablets, as well as your door and cabinet knobs.
  • Dust blinds, ceiling fans and fixtures. Wipe down or use a feather duster to remove the dirt that builds up on blinds, ceiling fans, light fixtures other small electronics.
  • Add color to your table. Treat yourself to some fresh flowers to add cheer to your kitchen table while waiting for spring blooms to make their first appearance.
  • Plan your summer vacation. Reserve your vacation home now to get the best selection of available properties. Start your planning today at Long & Foster’s Vacation Rentals website.

The post February Home Maintenance Checklist appeared first on Fort Collins Real Estate | Fort Collins Homes for Sale & Property Search.

Inspired by Love: Red home décor accents are not just for Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is here, the color red is seemingly everywhere, and you may have considered introducing red accents into your home décor to get into the spirit. The good news is that red isn’t just for holidays. In fact, the color red can actually add more energy to your interior regardless of the time of year. Here are eight ways that you can use red to spice up different living spaces.

Red bar stools look great in almost any color environment; from a vivid purple dining room, to a cool white-on-white kitchen.

Make your living room really stand out by adding an accent chair in a passionate shade of red. Pair it with neutral colors and make it the star of the room along with cool items, such as a black and white accent pieces.

In a black and white home, add a pop of red by choosing a Persian carpet in this wonderful color. The deep color grounds the living space and the intricate pattern masks spills.

There is nothing more fabulous than a dining area with a dreamy chandelier, but if you really want to make this room the star of your home, add a fancy red table.

This simple red cabinet becomes a statement piece by sticking to a monochromatic theme. A few white and off-color items on the shelves keeps monochromatic from becoming monotonous.

Where better than the bedroom to add the romantic color of red? Go modern with bold, textured pillows mixed with softer colors.

A glam red kitchen will bring romance into your home. This flirtatious and sweet kitchen will make you want to cook more with your loved one.

Red is the perfect color for your bathtub if you want to make your bathroom feel more romantic. Highlight it by using minimalist lighting fixtures and gorgeous vintage wallpaper.

The post Inspired by Love: Red home décor accents are not just for Valentine’s Day appeared first on Fort Collins Real Estate | Fort Collins Homes for Sale & Property Search.

Just a Dash of Feng Shui

DecorativeFlowersWhat is a home if not personalized to those who share its walls? Feng Shui is intended to create a place of peace, balance and harmony for you and yours. You can achieve this type of atmosphere through the things you bring into your home and the way that you stage your environment.

Feng Shui helps enhance your space and deliver positive energy by creating a more comfortable, clutter-free environment, and incorporating the influential elements found in nature. A recent article titled Feng Shui Basics for Home Decorating provides what I consider the simplest definition: “the use and placement of objects and materials to create a harmonious flow of life energy. As such, the design of each room should be based on the people who use it the most.”

To better understand Feng Shui, it is important to know the elements in which it is grounded: Water, Earth, Fire, Metal and Wood. Incorporating these elements into your home can be surprisingly simple, inexpensive, and do-it-yourself.

Element by element, here are some ideas and explanations of Feng Shui for your home:

    • Water: The water element also includes wind. Blues and blacks represent this element, as does integrating a water source in a home, which gives off a presence of refreshing movement. Rock fountains and indoor aquarium tanks are common in Feng Shui-oriented homes.

Using mirrors in your home can be another way to incorporate the water element. The reflective surface of a mirror is similar to the properties given off by a pond or lake. A fashionable mirror can be arguably as attractive as a framed picture, and doubles as being resourceful when you would like to check out your look. Decorating with mirrors can be perfect for a living room space that needs light and enlargement, and a flow of movement.

The living room is typically one of the largest shared spaces of movement in a home, so incorporating a tasteful mirror in this room would be oh-so-appropriate.

    • Earth: “Adding the earth element to your home quarters strengthens feelings of safety and security. The grounding support of earth energy should bring comfort to the soul and tone things down” is how Happy Home Zone describes home decorating with the earth element.

A simple way to add the earth element to your home is by use of color, and earth tones are the most obvious source. But if tans, browns and oranges are not your thing, try a deep red, mossy green or an off shade of white.

You don’t need to paint every wall or replace your furniture. Start small with a cream throw or piece of artwork. Cream is a color that matches almost any other. Earth tones in beiges, brown, tans and off-whites are also aesthetically pleasing accent colors.

Due to the calming, soothing properties earth tones extract, your bedroom would be a perfect place in which to add this element.

    • Fire: Another element you may consider incorporating into your bedroom is fire, due to its association with passion, happiness and love. Keep in mind, however, that fire should be used lightly; in large amounts its passionate properties can give off anger vibes.

An article titled How to Decorate with Earth, Fire, Wind and Water suggests incorporating the fire element through the use of “silks and synthetic fabrics, images of sunrises, geometric abstracts, triangular shapes, animal patterns, the color red and candles”.

Candles are always in style, fit well in nearly any room, and come in a variety of shapes and sizes. They can be inexpensive to buy or a fun Do-It-Yourself craft project. A candle display can work nicely in a bathroom and double as an air freshener.

    • Metal: According to Spiritual Feng Shui.com, “metal is a symbol of wealth and protection. Metals include stainless steel, aluminum, sterling silver, or iron.”

One of the most obvious places to incorporate metal would be in your kitchen. But metal has taken on a new trend outside of kitchen appliances; metal decorations can be used in any room you choose, and can be trendy and tasteful for both men and women. Check out these great precious metals and be inspired!

    • Wood: The wood element represents growth, and can be incorporated through almost any vegetation you choose to bring into your home. Indoor herb gardens or a potted houseplant can enhance your home aesthetically by being decorative and fragrant.

Growing your own edible vegetation can be a profitable experience, saving money on your grocery bill and adding flavor to your food. But if you lack the outdoor space to do it, read how indoor gardens can be accommodating. Indoor gardening is something your entire household can get involved in and enjoy.

Essentially, among other properties, Feng Shui is about balance – balance in your environment for you and for those with whom you who share your space. If Feng Shui is something you are interested in, start by adding a few of these elements into your décor and gradually increase them as you see fit, to find what balances your home best for YOU.

How do you achieve balance in your living space?

Brittany Lockwood works in Marketing at Windermere Real Estate. She is the in-house expert on weatherizingyard-sales and interior design. She lives in Seattle in a renovated condo which she enjoys re-arranging and decorating.

The post Just a Dash of Feng Shui appeared first on Fort Collins Real Estate | Fort Collins Homes for Sale & Property Search.

Childproofing: Protect Your Family and Your Home from Potential Hazards

BathWhen you think of your home, it likely conjures up feelings of safety, shelter, and comfort. However, accidental injuries in the home are one of the leading causes of harm to children 14 and younger. By taking certain precautions, many of these accidents can be prevented.

While supervision is the best way to keep your children safe at home, you can’t watch them every second. Childproofing, to whatever degree you are comfortable, will go a long way toward keeping your littlest loved ones safe and healthy at home.

Here are some tips to get you started.

Many accidents happen with or around water.

If you have children at home, it’s advisable to adjust your water heater to no higher than 120 degrees to prevent scalding. Furthermore, you should never leave a small child unattended in a bath tub, even for a few seconds. And be sure to safely secure doors that lead to swimming pools and hot tubs, including pet doors. When cooking or boiling water, turn pot handles in, or better yet use the back burners, to prevent little hands from pulling them off the stove.

Household chemicals can be very harmful to children.

It’s important not to keep poisonous materials under the sink, even if you have a cabinet guard in place. Keep dangerous chemicals up high and in a room that isn’t accessible to your little ones. Seemingly innocuous medicines can also be dangerous. Make sure your medicine cabinet is out of sight, mind, and reach.

Use safety latches and gates.

It’s advisable that you use safety latches on drawers, cabinets, toilets, and windows, as well as place covers on all electrical outlets. Gate off stairways and entrances to rooms, such as garages, that contain dangerous or fragile objects.

Secure furniture and other objects.

Heavy furniture, electronics, and lamps must be secured to prevent a child from pulling them over. Bookshelves and entertainment centers often come with devices that attach them to walls so that a climbing child won’t topple the furniture. The end-caps on door stoppers can be a choking hazard, so it’s advisable to remove them. Place plastic bumpers on sharp corners or edges of coffee tables, entertainment centers, and other furniture to prevent cuts and bruises.

Install a carbon monoxide detector.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recommends that consumers purchase and install carbon monoxide detectors in addition to smoke alarms. Be sure to test both devices regularly and replace batteries as needed. The American Red Cross advises families to learn first aid and CPR, and to devise an emergency evacuation plan for fires and earthquakes.

Emergency contact info.

Last, but not least, in case an emergency does happen, always keep numbers for your child’s doctor, your work and cell, and other emergency contact info in an easily found place, preferably near the phone.

Accidents can and will happen, but by following a few small steps you can have peace of mind knowing that you’ve done everything you can to protect your family from harm in your home.

The post Childproofing: Protect Your Family and Your Home from Potential Hazards appeared first on Fort Collins Homes For Sale.

Three Projects, Three Ways: Valentine’s Gifts for Your Loved Ones

Love it, or hate it, Valentine’s Day is fast approaching! If you want to create a thoughtful gift for a loved one (or for yourself because you TOTALLY deserve it), try one of these easy, inexpensive, do-it-yourself Valentine’s Day ideas!

Three-dimensional flower art:

The ladies at “A Beautiful Mess” have amazing craft ideas, so we decided to try out their flower collage. The results are so fun!

Supply list:

A favorite family picture- blown up to 5*7 or larger

Fabric flowers; you can find these at a local craft store. For a fun touch, pick up some fabric butterflies too

Hot glue gun and glue sticks

A shadow box or a picture frame with the glass popped out


Let inspiration be your guide; mock up your design before breaking out the glue gun

Glue flowers around the frame

Let the glue dry and then display your work of art!

Difficulty level: 1

A heart shaped picture collage:

Do you have so many favorite photos that you can’t pick just one? Are you an Instagram addict? Then this fun project is for you. You can use as many pictures as your frame will fit.

Supply list:

A picture frame

A piece of cardstock or paper cut to fit your frame

Cardstock cut into a stencil heart shape

A pile of your favorite photos


Craft glue or scrapbooking adhesive

Fancy accent paper (optional)


Decide the quantity of photographs you want to display

Arrange your photos on your blank sheet to determine the best placement

Cut each photo into the same size heart (use a stencil heart or heart shaped paper punch for this)

Arrange your pictures on the card stock

If you want to add some dimension, cut out hearts from the fancy accent paper to display behind your photos

Once everything is exactly how you like it, glue it all down

Let everything dry and finish by adding your frame!

Difficulty level: 2

The writing’s on the wall

Do you have a favorite quote about love? Make a modern wall hanging with some simple tools and your favorite words!

Supply list:

A wood frame for stretching canvas (can be found online or your local craft store)

Dark denim (enough to fit over canvas with a couple of extra inches all around)

A white fabric pencil

White fabric paint

Small acrylic paint brushes (with stiff bristles)

Masking tape

A staple gun and staples

A printed template of your favorite quote, as you would like to see it displayed

A window with natural light


Tape your printed quote to a window with natural light shining through

Tape your fabric swatch over your template, and position the image/text in the middle of your fabric swatch (dark side facing you)

Using the white pencil, trace the quote and/or image clearly on your dark fabric

Once done, remove your fabric from the window and tape to a flat surface like a desk or table

Use the paint brush and white fabric paint to trace over your white sketches to make your text and/or image visible

Let your masterpiece dry for a few hours (amount of time varies based on the thickness of the applied paint)

Position your fabric over your wooded canvas frame. Make sure the placement is straight and where you want it

Hold your fabric in place over the frame and staple the sides to the back of the wooden frame, checking to make sure your image on the front is straight and the fabric is taught on the frame

If the fabric on the back of your frame is too long, you may want to consider trimming so it doesn’t peek out when the frame is hung on the wall

Find the perfect spot to hang your masterpiece or the perfect person to gift it to!

Difficultly level: 3

Happy Valentine’s Day!

The post Three Projects, Three Ways: Valentine’s Gifts for Your Loved Ones appeared first on Fort Collins Homes For Sale.

Increasing Your Home’s Curb Appeal

First impressions are extraordinarily powerful, and your house is no exception. When others approach it for the first time, does it strike them as clean, inviting and well maintained? In real estate, these all-important qualities are known as “curb appeal.” If you plan to put your home on the market, or simply want it to look its best, here are some ideas that will ensure your home makes a positive first impression.

Clean, clean, clean

Start by cleaning and tidying your driveway, walkway, front yard, and front porch. Pressure washing can make concrete and aggregate surfaces look like new; pressure washers are also ideal for cleaning stains from gutters and removing moss from patios and decks.

In your yard, keep the grass neatly trimmed, and edge your paths and walkways for a meticulously groomed look. Keep the beds weed-free, and trim trees and bushes as needed. Remove and replace any dead or struggling plants. If you are selling your home, it’s a smart investment to have a professional gardener make things picture-perfect, and then you can maintain the look yourself.

On your front porch, remove any cobwebs and sweep away all traces of dirt, leaves and pet hair. Clean your light fixtures and bulbs, and be sure your windows are sparkling clean. Wipe down your front door and polish your door hardware.

Repair and update

Fix or replace loose latticework, gently tap down nail heads that have worked loose from your siding or decks, and ensure that downspouts are attached and secure. It might make sense to replace and outdated front door, or at least give it a fresh coat of paint and update the handle and kick plate.  If your exterior light fixtures were fashionable 25 years ago, they’re undoubtedly out of date now. Visit a home-improvement store and choose something more contemporary.

If your exterior paint is in good shape, light pressure washing will make it look almost new, and a fresh coat of pain on just the trim and shutters can provide a quick face lift. On the other hand, shabby paint dramatically devalues a home. If repainting is necessary, use a mainstream color that fits in with your neighborhood.

Keep it simple, clean and classic

If your home is on the market, be ruthless with clutter. Remove anything that distracts from the home itself, including children’s toys, bicycles, garden hoses and tools. You want your home to appeal to as many people as possible. When potential buyers step onto your property, they need to be able to imagine it as their own.

Create a welcoming entry

Your front porch and/or entryway provide an opportunity to make visitors feel comfortable and welcome. Beautiful pots overflowing with flowers appeal to everyone, and a trickling water feature can create a serene atmosphere. And if there’s room, a small table and chairs on the front porch are very inviting.  Finally, if your doormat has worn out its welcome, it’s time to purchase a new one.

Get a fresh point of view

It can be surprisingly difficult to view your home objectively and to see it as others do. One helpful trick is to shoot photos or video; for most people, this technique helps them see their home from a fresh perspective. By all means, ask your agent for a professional opinion. He or she can give you a checklist of recommended tasks that will strengthen your home’s curb appeal.

There’s only one chance to make a first impression

Curb appeal is more important than you might imagine. We’ve seen buyers make a snap judgment before they step out of the car. If it’s a negative first impression, that’s hard to overcome no matter how nice the home is inside. One the other hand, when a home is charming and cleaned and cared for on the outside, buyers can be so positively affected that once they’re inside, they are less critical of an outdated kitchen or a small bathroom. Strong curb appeal can help cement a positive opinion.

If you have questions about getting your home ready to sell, or are looking for an agent in your area we have professionals that can help you. Contact us here.

The post Increasing Your Home’s Curb Appeal appeared first on Fort Collins Homes For Sale.